Chenopodium pumilio, R. Br.

Brenan, J. P. M, 1954, Chenopodiaceae (part: Chenopodium), Flora of Tropical East Africa 12, pp. 2-14 : 13-14

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Chenopodium pumilio


9. C. pumilio R.Br. View in CoL

Prodr. FI. Nov. Holl. 1: 407 (1810); Benth., FI. Austral. 5: 163 (1870); Aellen in Verh. Naturf. Gesellsch. Basel 44 (1): 314 (1933); Ulbr. in E. & P. Pf., ed. 2, 16c: 494 (1934); Black, Fl. S, Austral., ed. 2,2: 289 (1948).

Type: Australia, R. Brown (BM, holo.!, K, iso.!)

Annual herb, prostrate or ascending, with numerous usually slender simple to much branched stems 2-45 cm. long radiating from rootstock, green rarely red-tinged, pubescent and glandular, aromatic. Leaves elliptic to lanceolate in outline, small, mostly 0.3-2-7 cm. long and 0.2-1.3 cm. wide, with 2-4 (-5) usually coarse sometimes obscure teeth or lobes on each margin, rarely (on depauperate plants) entire or almost so, glands between veins on lower side of leaves sessile to subsessile, not or only sometimes accompanied by glandular hairs except on veins. Flowers greenish, minute, about 0.4-0.75 mm. in diameter, sessile or subsessile in small rounded axillary clusters at most of the nodes. Sepals 4-5, sessile-glandular especially below, and more or less pubescent above, not at all keeled, but in fruit becoming rounded-convex on back outside and often whitish or pallid. Stamen 1. Pericarp easily scraped off seed. Seeds (Fig. 2/9, p. 3) all " vertical " (laterally compressed), deep red-brown, shining, 0.5-0.75 mm. in diameter, bluntly or sharply keeled; testa under microscope almost smooth.

Kenya. TJasin Gishu District: 6 km. E. of Eldoret, 28 Aug. 1948, Bogdan 1885!; Nairobi, Kabete, 28 May 1947, Bogdan 558!; Kerichó District: Kericho, 19 July 1933, Napier 2681 in C.M. 5096!

Distr. K3-6; native of Australia, also in New Zealand and New Caledonia; frequently introduced with wool into other parts of the world, e.g. the United States and Europe, including Britain

Hab. A weed of cultivated areas and by railways, in some places very common; most probably introduced with agricultural seeds; 1650-2530 m.

Syn. [ C. carinatum sensu auct. mult., pro parte, non R.Br. ]

The East African specimens are typical C. pumilio and not f. glandulosum (Moq.) Aellen in Verh. Naturf. Gesellsch. Basel 44 (1); 315 (1933).

J. M. Black,Fl. S. Austral., ed. 2,2: 289 (1948),separates the common form of C. pumilio with deeply lobed leaves 5-20 mm. long as var. oblongifolium Black , the type of C. pumilio having very small entire or very shallowly lobed leaves 3-8 mm. long. The var. oblongifolium, Miss C. M. Eardley kindly informs me, has not been provided with a valid Latin description, but whether the type of C. pumilio represents a constant variant or a mere state has still to be decided; for the present therefore var. oblongifolium is not adopted here, though later research may show it to be valid.

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